Identity Through Aspirations, Behaviors and Confidence
Edited by Patricia G. Greene and Candida G. Brush
Chapter 9: Motherhood as a springboard for women’s entrepreneurial action
The importance of entrepreneurial self-efficacy for entrepreneurial action is well established. Extant research asserts that the motivation for female entrepreneurs differs from that for male entrepreneurs: women, as less confident than men, show a lower willingness to start a business. Despite these findings, the number of women entrepreneurs in general, and ‘mumpreneurs’ in particular, is rising worldwide. To understand the phenomenon better, the author explores two research questions: (1) Why are women prone to developing into entrepreneurs after becoming mothers? (2) Can motherhood be considered a springboard for women’s entrepreneurial action? To address these questions, the author builds on Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory and its assertion that mastery experience provides the strongest stimulus for action. She theorizes that giving birth and raising a child will have a positive effect on a woman’s confidence in general, and entrepreneurial self-efficacy in particular. More specifically, by analyzing the types of skills and abilities that are required from parents when raising children, the nature of problems which are encountered, and the manner of experiences which parents go through in the process, this chapter suggests their similarity to the entrepreneurship context. Consequently, it is argued that positively experienced motherhood can act as a springboard for women’s confidence to start and run a new venture. As such, two important implications of the argument are developed. First, motherhood is potentially a source of rich experiences and skills; it is a resource, a practice and an identity. Second, women entrepreneurs are not a homogeneous group, and for policy-makers to provide effective tools for the respective subgroups, further clustering is required.
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